Dental Cleanings Checkups are recommended every 6 months for a healthy mouth, and every 3-4 months for those with Periodontal Disease.
Dental Exams Examinations should occur at least once a year, depending on your past history of cavities.
Digital X-Rays X-Rays should be taken between every 6 months to 3 years depending on your past history of restorations and how regularly you visit the dentist for exams.
Sealants Dental sealants are tooth colored and made from polymer or glass ionomers and bond to the deep grooves in the back teeth (molars) to prevent decay.
Periodontal Disease Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up below the gum line and starts to pull the gums away from the roots of the teeth. It has been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
Cleanings for Kids
Professional cleanings performed by a hygienist or dental assistant are important to your child's dental health as are daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and kid-friendly language, we will:
Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease and gingivitis
Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indicator of gum disease, and generally appears on older children and adults
Help with brushing and flossing techniques, and encouraging healthy eating habits at home to promote good oral development
Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing
Examinations Regular examinations help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Twice yearly dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations in our office generally include the following:
Digital x-rays to assess proper tooth development and healthy eruption of primary and permanent teeth
Thorough examination of the teeth, looking for areas of decay, teeth that will be exfoliating (coming out soon), future orthodontic needs, and any treatment diagnosis
Head, neck, and mouth visual examination
We invite you to call us at 406-404-1186 with any questions about your child's first visit!
Professional Cleanings, Exams, and X-Rays
Professional cleanings performed by a licensed dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist at Summit Dental will:
Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.
Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indication of gum disease.
Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing.
Some patients will require a deep cleaning due to gum disease and past periodontal treatments. Dr. William Samson will review your past dental history and identify any issues you may need treatment for.
Examinations Regular examinations by Dr. William Samson help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:
Gum disease screening
Oral cancer screening
Visual tooth decay evaluation
Gum pocket measurement and tracking
X-ray examination to detect: tooth decay, cysts, tumors, problems below the gums and other hidden issues
Regular examinations by Dr. William Samson are very important for your health.
Remember, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." –Benjamin Franklin
X-rays (Radiographs) Dental x-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Your Bozeman dentist can detect issues with x-rays before they become problems, saving you money in the long run by preventing the need for more expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect internal tooth decay, cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth), tumors, impacted teeth, and teeth that are still coming in.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What Is Periodontal Disease/Gum Disease? Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by the bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.
Here Are Some Warning Signs That Can Signal a Problem
Gums that bleed easily
Red, swollen, tender gums
Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
Persistent bad breath or bad taste
Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Any change in the fit of partial dentures
There are many factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease, including: smoking, pregnancy and diabetes. It is important to visit Dr. William Samson if you suspect you have gum disease, because the sooner you treat it the better.
The Early Stage of Gum Disease Is Called Gingivitis If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.
Advanced Gum Disease Is Called Periodontitis Chronic periodontitis can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.
Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone, and may occur in localized areas or in the entire mouth. Periodontal disease cannot be cured, however, we have measures to help slow or stop the progression.
Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. The treatment methods that our dentists diagnose will depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential for helping to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious.
Restorative Dental Procedures
Bridge A Dental Bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
Crown Dental Crowns restore cracked or decayed teeth. A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size.
Dentures A complete Dental Denture is a removable prosthesis of white plastic teeth in a pink gum-colored plastic base that rests on the remaining gum ridge once all of the teeth in the arch have been removed.
Fillings Fillings are used to restore areas of your tooth affected by decay. Dentists use both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth-colored) materials to "fill in" the surface of the tooth after all decay has been removed.
Implant A Dental lmplant is a metal device designed to replace missing teeth. The device is usually made out of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a dental bridge, an implant is permanent.
Root Canal A Root Canal Therapy or, endodontic therapy, is a procedure available to save a tooth that is infected and would otherwise require extraction.
A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
There are several types of bridges. We will discuss the best options for your particular case. The "traditional bridge" is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. These fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached on either side of the artificial teeth (pontics), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years with proper homecare; however, they may need to be replaced or re-cemented due to normal wear.
Reasons For a Fixed Bridge
Fill space of missing teeth
Maintain facial shape
Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
Restore chewing and speaking ability
Restore your smile
Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance
What does getting a Fixed Bridge involve? Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit and comfortable bite.
You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens the tooth structure giving the tooth a longer life than it would have if restored by fillings or other types of restorations.
There are three common types of crowns, All Porcelain (tooth colored), Porcelain Fused To Metal, and Gold.
All Porcelain A very esthetically pleasing type of crown, usually recommended for front teeth only. There is a high risk of fracturing this type of crown when used to restore back teeth.
Porcelain Fused To Metal A metal based crown with porcelain baked to the outside to make it more Cosmetic. This type of crown is great for someone who wants a tooth colored crown but still wants durability. There is still a risk of fracturing these types of crowns but usually it is just the outside porcelain that chips off.
Gold This type of crown is very durable! Mostly they are recommended for back teeth where the crown cannot be seen. They are often recommended for people that grind or clinch their teeth. Gold crowns are most like your natural teeth and your tissue adapts best to this material. Also, less actual tooth structure needs to be removed for this type of crown.
If a crown is needed, Dr. William Samson will discuss what type of crown would be best for you.
Reasons For Crowns
• Broken or fractured teeth • Cosmetic enhancement • Decayed teeth • Fractured fillings • Large fillings • Tooth has had a root canal
What does getting a crown involve? A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking impressions that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.
At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.
You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your crown. As always, proper oral hygiene will help extend the life of your new crown.
Replacing Teeth With Dentures
Dentures are a "replacement" option for missing teeth. Dentures come in two varieties; partial dentures and complete or full dentures. The difference between the two lies in how many natural teeth are replaced in the mouth.
For some of our patients, removal is the only option because the condition of the teeth have deteriorated so far that they can no longer be repaired.
Partial Denture This type of denture is a removable appliance held in place by gripping the remaining healthy teeth, usually with metal clasps or wires. Often called a "partial," this type of denture is often used when only some of the teeth are missing.
A partial denture allows all missing teeth in the same arch (either the upper or the lower) to be replaced with one appliance. A partial denture is inherently much more stable and therefore more comfortable than a complete denture. There are many factors that help us to determine if you are a candidate for tooth replacement with a partial denture. Among these factors, the health of the gums and the shape of the anchor teeth are most important.
The metal clasps are usually visible and sometimes affect the beauty of your smile. Often, there are options available to reduce or eliminate the need for visible clasps.
Partial dentures can be designed to allow for the future loss of teeth which may not be as healthy as the rest. Alternatives to partial dentures include bridges, implants, and occasionally, full dentures.
Complete Denture A complete denture is a removable prosthesis of white plastic teeth in a pink gum-colored plastic base that rests on the remaining gum ridge once all of the teeth in the arch have been removed.
It is important to note that life with an upper denture, a lower denture, and especially both, is a major lifestyle change when compared to natural teeth. Dentures impact the type of food you are able to eat, your self-confidence in social situations, and even your self-esteem. However, with advances in dental technology, implant-retained dentures are becoming an option, giving the patient both a natural looking smile, and fully functioning mouth.
Reasons For A Full Denture
All teeth missing in the same arch
Restore chewing ability
Restore a natural looking smile
Traditional dentures can be an economical alternative to other procedures
An upper full denture will almost always feel better than a lower full denture. In order to dramatically improve the fit of a lower full denture, we frequently suggest using dental implants as a retentive mechanism. Two dental implants placed in the lower jaw can help anchor the denture and significantly improve comfort. Sometimes, the implants can even be placed in the jaw after a denture has been in use for several years.
Composite or Amalgam Fillings
Fillings are used to restore areas of your tooth affected by decay. Dentists use both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth-colored) materials to "fill in" the surface of the tooth after all decay has been removed.
Reasons for Fillings
Restoring small to medium sized cavities
Restoring a chipped anterior (front) tooth
What Does a Filling Involve? First, Dr. William Samson will answer any questions you have and will apply anesthetic to the tooth requiring the filling.
Dr. William Samson will thoroughly remove the decay that is present and prepare the tooth for either the composite or amalgam (silver alloy) filling.
What Are Composite Fillings? Composite fillings are tooth-colored to blend in with the remaining natural part of the tooth. The term composite refers to the actual filling material, which is a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium.
Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, composite fillings are "bonded" or attached with adhesive directly to the tooth surface. This often allows for a more conservative repair than traditional fillings with their inability to bond to the tooth structure. Since traditional fillings do not bond to the tooth, amalgam is packed into the tooth, and may loosen over time. Amalgam fillings often require that more tooth structure be removed to create a space that will hold the filling in place.
Composite fillings require that the tooth be kept clean and dry during the entire filling process, and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite.
Composite filling material is also commonly used to repair front teeth that have chipped or worn. Where possible, aesthetic bonding of composite material to front teeth is generally much less expensive than veneers or crowns. However, bonding typically does not last as long as veneers or crowns.
If your tooth is sensitive for a week or more it is important to Call Our Office so we can examine the tooth and determine if additional treatment is needed.
A dental implant is a metal device designed to replace missing teeth. The device is usually made out of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a dental bridge, an implant is permanent.
Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.
Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone, a process called osseo-integration. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural and some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes.
Candidates for dental implants must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.
Reasons For Dental Implants
Replace a missing tooth
Maintain healthy bone levels
Help support over dentures
Keep the look and feel of a real tooth where one is missing
What does a dental implant involve? Implant Site Preparation The gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area where the implant will be placed. In situations where there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may be a recommended procedure.
Once healthy bone material has been established, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant.
Placing the Implant After the bone has been prepared, the implant is placed and the tissue is sutured.
The healing process takes three to six months. This is the amount of time it usually takes the implant to become part of the lower jaw, commonly referred to as osseo-integration.
Even though it takes so long for osseointegration the sutures are typically removed seven to fourteen days after surgery.
Attaching the Post When the gum tissue is ready, a special post is attached to the implant. It is the support for the new porcelain crown.
Today's technologies often include zirconium abutments attached to the implant post, to assure that the new porcelain tooth possesses translucency properties similar to a natural tooth.
Placing the Crown After impressions are taken a crown is made and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is then slipped over the post and cemented. This final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth.
There is a high rate of failure of implants in patients who smoke, so dental implants tend to not be an option for patients who are actively smoking. We will help you determine whether dental implants will be a good tooth replacement option for you. Proper brushing and flossing will maximize the longevity of your new dental implant.
Root Canal Therapy
A "root canal" or endodontic therapy, is a procedure available to save a tooth that is infected and would otherwise require extraction. There are many reasons that teeth can become infected including cavities, previous large fillings, crowns, cracks, fractures, trauma, and extreme wear.
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with specially medicated dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the best (and most economical) solution, but what they do not realize is that extracting, or pulling a tooth, could ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth, as well as causing loss of bone around the extraction site.
While root canal therapy has a high degree of success, it is not 100% guaranteed. It is very important to have a permanent restoration (usually a crown) placed within 30 days of the root canal. If a permanent restoration is not placed, the tooth can fracture or further decay to the point where the root canal must be re-done or, worse, the tooth must be removed.
Reasons For Root Canal Therapy
Decay has reached the tooth's pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
Injury or trauma to the tooth
Extreme wear due to bruxism (grinding)
What Does Root Canal Therapy Involve? A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by Dr. William Samson. While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and isolated from the other teeth. Your Bozeman dentist will then create a hole at the top of the tooth, and clean the infection from the pulp inside the tooth. Medicine will be applied to remove any bacteria, and a temporary filling will be placed. When the tooth has had time to heal from the root canal treatment, you will need to return to our offices for an examination of the tooth, and to have a permanent crown placed over the tooth to prevent any further decay or fracturing of the treated area.
At times the tooth requiring treatment has a complex root or the infection is such that it needs a specialist to examine and complete root canal therapy. Dr. William Samson will work closely with our endodontic specialist to review your treatment case, send necessary records to their office, and place the crown restoration after your root canal is completed. Our office staff will help coordinate your appointments, and help you understand your financial responsibility.
Cosmetic Dental Procedures
Bonding Dental Bonding restores cracked or decayed teeth by applying a tooth-colored composite material to a tooth, shaping it, allowing it to harden, and polishing it.
Veneers Tooth Veneers are very thin pieces of durable, tooth shaped, porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.
Whitening Tooth Whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Bonding is a procedure in which we apply a tooth-colored composite material to a tooth, shape it, allow it to harden, and polish it. It can be used in certain situations where a tooth has been damaged or become stained. These are generally minor repairs, ones that can be resolved through this relatively inexpensive means rather than through a more costly dental procedure.
Here's How it Works: Your dentist prepares the tooth surface so that the bonding material will adhere. Once that's been applied, we shape it so that it has a natural appearance. We allow the material to harden, usually with the help of a light. Then, we polish and buff so that the surface is smooth.
This is not a process that we recommend if you are a smoker as smoke causes staining. Also, the material is not as durable as porcelain veneers and crowns so it chips more easily. Eventually, it may require replacing.
Dental bonding it is a perfectly adequate and more affordable solution to certain dental problems. It often takes less time and generally does not require anesthesia. Insurance may cover dental bonding depending on the dental issue.
If you are concerned about cost, pain or the time involved in your dental issue, dental bonding could be a solution for you. Call our office and we can discuss the options with you.
Veneers are very thin pieces of durable, tooth shaped, porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.
Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile. They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many cosmetic dental conditions for the front teeth.
As with most dental restorations, veneers may someday need replacement; however, they are still very durable and will last many years, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons For Porcelain Veneers
Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile
Severely discolored or stained teeth
Teeth that are too small or large
Unwanted or uneven spaces
Worn or chipped teeth.
What Does Getting Porcelain Veneers Involve? Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process. The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer. A mold or impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and the dentist.
On the second visit the teeth will be cleansed with special liquids to achieve a durable bond. Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer and a special light beam is used to harden and set the bond.
You will receive care instructions for your veneers. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new and beautiful veneers.
Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are several ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed once a year, and more often if you smoke and/or drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons For Tooth Whitening
Florousis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development)
Normal wear of outer tooth layer
Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.)
Yellow, brown stained teeth
What does tooth whitening involve? This type of tooth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear, plastic trays.
At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.
Straighter Teeth With Clear Braces
What are Clear Invisalign® Aligners? Aligners are made of clear, strong medical grade plastic that is virtually invisible when worn. Aligners are clear and look similar to tooth-whitening trays, but are custom-made to fit better while moving teeth. Some orthodontists and dentists have referred to them as "contact lenses for teeth."
For years, orthodontists and dentists have used removable appliances for limited treatment. Today, with the application of computer technology and custom manufacturing, Invisalign® treats a broader range of cases with greater precision.
Invisalign® uses 3-D computer imaging technology to depict the complete treatment plan from the initial position to the final desired position from which a series of custom-made, clear "aligners" are produced. Each "aligner" moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then is replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.
Clear, Removable, and Comfortable With Invisalign®, you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing. Unlike braces, you can eat and drink what you want during treatment, because you can remove the trays. You can also brush and floss normally to maintain good oral hygiene. There are no metal brackets or wires as with braces to cause mouth irritation, and no metal or wires means you spend less time in the doctor's chair getting adjustments.
Invisalign® allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan before you start so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete.